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TO: Superintendents of Schools


FROM: J. Duke Albanese, Commissioner


DATE: August 30, 2002

RE: Substitutes and Criminal History Records Check


Deputy Commissioner Lucarelli and I have been hearing from a number of you in recent weeks about the difficulty in meeting the daily demands for substitutes in local schools now that the requirement has taken effect for all substitutes to meet the Criminal History Records Check statute based on fingerprinting.


As you know, regular employees, including coaches and part-time personnel, must meet the records check requirement by their twentieth day of work. For some positions, this could take as little as three weeks (for a coach with practice six days a week), or as much as five months (for a teacher working one day a week). The difficulty with the same standard applying to substitutes is that they may work in several school systems, so there is no way to track the twentieth day of work for a daily substitute.


However, the varying demand for substitutes on any given day can result in pulling people in on short notice, often before they can attend a fingerprinting session. In order to address this situation, I will waive the approval requirement for substitute personnel until the twentieth school day after their first substituting in your school system. That is, an individual who first substitutes in your school system on September 4 must meet the CHRC requirement by October 2 (assuming you have school every Monday through Friday during that four week period). This may mean that the individual will have to drive some distance to be fingerprinted, since there are far fewer fingerprint sessions this year than in the past. If you know that someone who subs in your school system on September 4 has already substituted in another school system on September 3, you can still begin the 20-day count on September 4 the day the individual first worked in your school system.


I realize fully that this will not solve the substitute shortage, but it will provide some flexibility for those individuals who had never planned to substitute, but are called in to help on a given day. Please be sure, if this happens in your school system, that you provide the individual with the application for fingerprinting and information about how to schedule fingerprinting. Be advised that this waiver applies only to this current 2002-03 school year.